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Marley's idea was that everyone in the world should stop fighting and become one - a similar sentiment to John Lennon's "Imagine
" and George Harrison's "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)
." There is, however, a deeper meaning behind the song than a simple call for unity. Some of the lyrics are about oppression and how sinners will pay for their evil deeds in the end. For many listeners, the deeper message is lost in the overwhelming chorus.
Marley wrote this song amid the turmoil of the Jamaican elections in December, 1976. Marley had supported Michael Manley when he won the election in 1972 and became Prime Minister of Jamaica, but four years later, Marley was by far the most popular person in Jamaica, and he refused to take a political stance as the country was divided between Manley's People's National Party and the Jamaican Labour Party headed by Edward Seaga.
It was very violent time in the country, and Marley tried to stay politically neutral while offering peace and shelter however he could - his Hope Road hope was kind of a safehouse for people with nowhere to go. The journalist Vivien Goldman was with Marley at the time and remembers him working on "One Love" while sitting on his small bed while a young girl sat on the other end and other visitors gathered in the room. "We'll share the shelter, of my single bed," Marley sang, as he created a song they was both peaceful and angry at the same time.
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